During 1998, the WWE landscape was in the midst of a widespread change with longtime standard bearers Bret “Hitman” Hart, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Diesel, and 1-2-3 Kid joining WCW, forcing Vince McMahon to create new superstars leading to The Attitude Era, the height of McMahon’s wrestling empire.
Wrestling wasn’t just a sport for misfits and it was nearly impossible to go anywhere without seeing someone wearing an Austin 3:16, The Rock Says…, or D-Generation X t-shirt. As part of their fantastic WWE line, Mattel has been hard at work cranking out most of the biggest stars from that era, but there’s still some major gaps in our Attitude Era collection. So it’s time to look at the Top 5 Must-Have Attitude Era figures we need to see from Mattel soon.
To be fair, I didn’t include wrestlers under contract with TNA (stupid TNA!) so this won’t include Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, or The Dudley Boyz. Now, on with the show!
Mattel has already mentioned that an X-Pac figure is forthcoming, otherwise he’d be a no-brainer, what with Triple H and Road Dogg already getting DX-era figures released, and Billy Gunn coming up in the next few waves. The leads us to “The World’s Most Dangerous Man.”
From his debut as the referee in the classic Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold “I Quit” match, Shamrock was largely treated as a top-tier member of the WWE roster. Shamrock was featured in some of the more memorable matches and angles in the early Attitude era from the Canadian Stampede 10-man where he teamed with Stone Cold, Golddust, and The Legion of Doom against The Hart Foundation, headlining “In Your House: D-Generation X” against Shawn Michaels and the Intercontinental/co-tag team champion as part of The Corporation.
Mattel should put Shamrock in his royal blue tights, and, in lieu of the typical screaming face, just give him the “I can destroy you in 1,738 ways” icy cold glare before Knuckle Up time.
Of the viable Attitude Era reinforcements (The Radicalz – save the Legends 3 Eddie Guerrero, Hardy Boyz, Dudley Boyz, and Kurt Angle), Chris Jericho is the most likely to get done soon, and he was a pivotal player during that time frame with big feuds against Triple H, Stone Cold, and The Rock. With a number of attire choices, he will be a dynamic figure to pop on your shelves.
A cloth shiny silver shirt is essential for this figure as well as an Attitude Era Intercontinental title belt.
True. We’ve gotten an older, current-era Vince in a suit, but few characters were more memorable in the Attitude Era than Mr. McMahon. Putting him in a suit gives him that “you can’t touch me, Austin!” look, and if you need a wrestling version, you can always pop this version’s younger head on the two-pack with CM Punk.
Like the #1 choice, old Triple H has seen a lot of figures from Mattel already. His most recent Flashback — in Elite 23 — was from his final match as the crude-talking babyface leader of Degeneration X. While the figure is fine, Mattel kinda goofed on this selection as most fans wanted the babyface DX Triple H in his Summerslam 98 attire with light purple pants.
The other most heavily demanded version of Triple H represents his look from 1999-2000 when he was the undisputed top heel in the promotion.
This would be the Triple H who battled The Rock and Stone Cold, retired Cactus Jack, and overall was the coolest top heel since Ric Flair. And then he married Stephanie and the Internet began to hate him. The ideal 2000-era Triple H would sport his 2000 Royal Rumble look and an included sledgehammer. Whenever we get another Triple H Flashback, this one has to be the one we get.
These days, “The Dead Man” is just showing up to have his annual Wrestlemania victory and vanish until next year, but Taker reinvented himself during The Attitude Era to remain a pivotal player. While Mattel has cranked out several versions of “The Phenom” (from the Entrance Great debut look, the Phantom of the WWE from Elite 23, Ministry of Darkness SDCC exclusive, and American Bad A$$ from his biker phase in Elite 18), the most glaring omission is his look that represented arguably the greatest time frame of his career — the early Attitude look.
While the majority of the stars he faced in the early phase of his career were enjoying immense popularity in WCW as part of the nWo, Undertaker was not just going strong, he was excelling. He battled Shawn Michaels (Elite 19 Flashback) in a memorable Hell in the Cell in late 1997 before moving on to a feud with his “brother” Kane (Elite 12 Flashback) at Wrestlemania. From there, he made WWE history with his insane match against Mankind (Elite 17 Flashback) at King of the Ring and had an alliance/rivalry with Stone Cold (WWE Legends series 1) culminating in a heated Summerslam match. After that, he competed in The Deadly Games tournament for the WWE title, advancing to a semifinal match against The Rock (WWE Legends series 3) leading to his further descent to the dark side.
Notice a trend there? Undertaker fought against all the big names in the Attitude Era and most of his most memorable moments featured him in the one outfit we don’t have yet. It’s time to fix that Mattel. Yeah, we’ve gotten a bunch of Taker figures, but it’s time to get the most important version left now.